Seligman Denies

From the psychology professor cited in Jane Mayer's new book:

The allegation that I “provided assistance in the process” of torture is completely false.

I gave a three hour lecture sponsored by SERE (the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape branch of the American armed forces) at the San Diego Naval Base in May 2002. My topic was how American troops and American personnel could use what is known about learned helplessness and related findings to resist torture and evade successful interrogation by their captors. I was told then that since I was (and am) a civilian with no security clearance that they could not discuss American methods of interrogation with me. I have not had contact with SERE since that meeting.

I have not worked under government contract (or any other contract) on any aspect of interrogation or any aspect of torture. Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Jessen were present in the audience of about 50 others at my speech, and that was, to the best of my knowledge, the sum total of my "assisting them in the process."

I have had no contact at all with the American Psychological Association about their relevant policies. Most importantly, I strongly disapprove of torture and have never and would never provide assistance in its process.

Martin Seligman